Always taste dish at the end of the cook cycle and correct seasonings, including salt and pepper.

 Fresh herbs will dissipate in flavor over long cook times. It's best to add them to the finished dish.

 For dried herbs and spices, add half the amount at the beginning of the cooking cycle, then taste and adjust seasonings toward the end of the cooking cycle. Chili and garlic powders can sometimes intensify over longer cook times.

 Tomatoes, vinegar, wine or citrus juice help tenderize meats. For long cook times, taste and add additional citrus during the last 15-30 minutes if desired.

 Slow cooking retains more juices in meats and vegetables than conventional cooking, so it's generally not necessary to use more than ½ to 1 cup liquid.

 To thicken a sauce, you can stir in cornstarch, tapioca or tapioca powder and set the slow cooker to high about 15 minutes until juices are thickened.

 Add milk, cream and sour cream during the last 15 minutes of cooking time.

 If cooking dried beans, cook them completely before combining with sugar or acidic foods, which will have a hardening effect on beans.

 You can place ingredients in the stoneware liner and refrigerate it the night before cooking, but keep in mind that starting the cooking with cold stoneware will add more time for the pot to heat and cook.

 Also, don't place the cold stoneware liner in a cooker that's already hot; the stoneware could shatter.

 Most dishes can be cooked on either the high or low setting. Both settings stabilize at the same temperature, the low setting just takes longer to reach the simmer point (209 degrees F). Once food reaches this point, total cook time depends on the cut and weight of the meat and other ingredients. On the low setting, it takes about 7-8 hours to reach the simmer point; for high setting, 3-4 hours.

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